At the opening of each file, clear agreements are made concerning the fees due for our intervention, which are immediately confirmed in writing.
The size of the fee naturally depends on the amount of work the proper handling of your file will require. And this parameter is not always known in advance, in part because it depends on the intensity with which the other involved parties respond to our arguments.
Broadly speaking, we use three fee systems: fixed, hourly, or by the so-called value rate. Fixed rates are principally used only for simple routine tasks concerning subscriptions.
In the collection of payments or in case of resistance against the aforementioned collection, the value rate can be used, whereby the fee is calculated as a percentage of the value of the dispute. This percentage decreases as the value of the dispute increases and is calculated by band:
|band up to 7.500,- euro :||15 %|
|band up to 25.000,- euro :||10 %|
|band up to 100.000,- euro :||8%|
|band up to 250.000,- euro :||6%|
|over 250.000,- euro :||4%|
These percentages are increased by 50% when, following proceedings in first instance, an appeal procedure must also be conducted.
They can be reduced in the context of a subscription system.
The hourly rate is calculated based on the time spent on the file, which is registered on a computer. The hourly rate is agreed upon in advance for each individual file and is dependent on the importance of the case, the difficulty, any potential urgency and finally the experience or expertise of the lawyer handling the case
As a result, the hourly rate typically ranges from 150,- to 300,- euro. In some cases it is also possible for a lower base amount to be charged that, in case of a favourable outcome, is increased to a success fee which has also been agreed upon in advance.
Office costs are charged at a fixed rate of 25,- euro for the opening of a file, plus 15,- per sheet produced by our word processor for the file and all costs that the office must pay to third parties in order to be able to handle your file (such as court fees, bailiff fees, court expert fees etc.)
For the services which are to be provided and the expenses which are to be made, ADVOCANT demands one or more commissions, which are settled with the client upon completion of their file.
We strive to give you the best possible service. Should you have any complaints, please signal them at firstname.lastname@example.org, which takes each complaint to heart and promptly responds to them.
All lawyers of ADVOCANT belong to the Bar of Antwerp and are as such also under the disciplinary supervision of the Bâtonnier of this Order, whose cabinet is located at the courthouse in 2000 Antwerp on Bolivarplaats 20/15, tel. (+32)3-260.72.50, fax nr. (+32)3-260.72.71, email@example.com.
ADVOCANT has insured the professional liability of its associates for the amount of 5.000.000 euro. The liability of its employees (for the files that are not handled for the office) is insured for the amount of 2.500.000 euro.
All Belgian lawyers are compelled by their deontology (their professional rules, promulgated by the Bar Association), to maintain the greatest discretion with regard to duties they fulfil for their clients.
Even the fact a person being client is not to be made public without approval, nor may the identity of any other party. A lawyer infringing this discretion com-mitment risks disciplinary action with penalties even up to a ban on practising the profession.
When the violation of the discretion commitment relates to confidential infor-mation, he even risks a correctional prison sentence for violation of professional secrecy (art. 458 of the penal code).
It goes without saying that this professional secrecy and the even further out-reaching general discretion commitment require the law firm being organised in such a way that all its collaborators (internal as well as external) submit to it. In practice, this is done by explicitly including this obligation in their contract.
The discretion commitment incumbent on a law firm therefore goes much fur-ther than the protection to which physical persons are entitled pursuant to Di-rective (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of physical persons in connection with the processing of personal data and on the free circulation of such data (here-after referred to as the General Data Protection Regulation and abbreviated as GDPR).
From now on, the processing of personal data also requires the consent of the person concerned. In view of the very limited purposes for which ADVOCANT processes these data and the security built into our IT system, we nevertheless assume that the order a client entrusts to us also implies permission to process his/her personal data via our computer.
However we point out to our clients that, strictly speaking, the GDPR excludes tacit consent and that, in any event, they always can revoke their consent. They will, however, understand that without this consent we will not be able to continue with the assignment they gave us, since our office is administratively controlled by an IT system that cannot function without this data.
We do not need permission from adversary parties as we cannot properly assu-me the interests of our clients without processing their data.
In addition, the GDPR also imposes on us the rather peculiar obligation to explicitly point out to all (physical) persons whose data are being processed the rights which they can read in the GDPR itself.
For example, they have a right of consultation (see Article 15 of the GDPR) as well as the right to request the correction, and in some cases also the deletion or restriction of use, of their data or to object to their processing (see Articles 16, 17, 18 and 21 of the GDPR).
And if they believe that these rights are being disregarded, they can also lodge a complaint to the data protection authority (see Article 15 of the GDPR) or to the President of the Bar Association.
ADVOCANT only processes personal data that its lawyers need in order to draw up procedural documents or provide legal advice, or in order to comply with the Money Laundering Prevention Act.
We do not pass on these data to anyone else than those whose services are necessary in order to achieve this objective (such as bailiffs, courts, etc.). ADVOCANT also refrains internally from any profiling based on personal data.
Internally, we only use these data for the automatic addressing of our correspondence, for the follow-up of the bookkeeping, for the management of the agenda, for the identification of the office files and in order to avoid that interests that conflict with those of a client of ADVOCANT would be served within our office.
Specifically, this concerns identity data (name, dates of birth, domicile), data required for communication (telephone, fax, e-mail address) or for forwarding received amounts (bank account numbers). The files in which these data are stored are accessible only to the lawyer handling the file and to his/her direct collaborators.
They are encrypted and illegible to those who do not have an access code. Since most of these data are protected by professional secrecy, only the President of the Bar Association has the right to check the conformity of our data processing, without prejudice to the data subject’s right of access to the data relating to him/herself.
Even the Data Protection Authority will have no access to our office without the presence of the President of the Bar, who guarantees the inviolability of professsional secrecy even towards the courts. Because professional secrecy does not protect the lawyer, but the client.
The law commits us to keep processed files for five years after closure, after which they will be destroyed. Incidentally, the GDPR does not apply to files, but only to the data processing itself. After a file has been closed, personal data can only be consulted with a view to managing office files and avoiding conflicts of interest within the firm.
In this way, we guarantee our clients a dedicated service with the utmost discretion. And in the event of a data breach despite all built-in security measures, ADVOCANT is insured for such risks up to € 2.000.000,- per claim, in addition to a general professional liability insurance of € 5.000.000, taken out for each of our partners.